WATCH: CNN's Cringefest Segment on the Passing of Joe the Plumber Was Low Point for 'Journalism'

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On Monday, news broke that Samuel Wurzelbacher, known nationally by the nickname “Joe the Plumber,” had died at the age of 49.

According to media reports, Wurzelbacher’s son Joey confirmed that his father, who was diagnosed in December with Stage 3 pancreatic cancer, passed away Sunday.

As many RedState readers will remember, Wurzelbacher rose to national prominence in 2008 after a rather illuminating exchange with then-Democratic nominee for president Barack Obama, who was in Ohio at the time stumping for votes.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a refresher on how things went down:

Wurzelbacher said he planned to become the owner of a small plumbing business that will take in more than the $250,000 amount at which Obama plans to begin raising tax rates.

“Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” the blue-collar worker asked.

After Obama responded that it would, Wurzelbacher continued: “I’ve worked hard . . . I work 10 to 12 hours a day and I’m buying this company and I’m going to continue working that way. I’m getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American Dream.”

“It’s not that I want to punish your success,” Obama told him. “I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance for success, too.

Then, Obama explained his trickle-up theory of economics.

“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

It was a respectful conversation (seen below) and one that eventually went viral, with the moment being shown in a John McCain campaign ad and both candidates referencing him numerous times during a subsequent presidential debate in October 2008.  

When asked for comment at the time on McCain’s focus on Wurzelbacher, then-vice presidential candidate Joe Biden confirmed the out-of-touch nature of Democrats by snidely remarking during an NBC “Today” show interview that “You notice John continues to cling to the notion of this guy Joe the Plumber. I don’t have any Joe the plumbers in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year that are worried.”

Surprisingly enough, most stories out of the MSM on his passing were respectful of Wurzelbacher’s post-2008 political journey, a far cry from how he was treated by the same people after he inadvertently got Obama to admit the quiet part out loud. 

But in a move that will shock absolutely no one, the segment CNN did Tuesday on Joe the Plumber’s death morphed into a sad trombone whinefest on the Democratic party’s continued struggles at earning the white working man vote, with words like “white identity politics” and “grievance politics” being thrown in there for good measure. 

CNN anchor Dana Bash, their senior political analyst Nia Malika-Henderson, and Politico’s Heidi Przybyla were the stars of this cringe back and forth. The transcript is below. The video and my comments will follow:

Henderson: And listen, this was a time when John McCain and Republicans, more broadly, they were trying to really attract white working class voters, right And if you think about the way Barack Obama did in that 2008 election, in some ways, a high watermark for Democratic presidential candidates. He won Ohio. He won Indiana, for goodness sakes, which is really hard to believe and hard to fathom given where we are now.

But this was kind of the emergence, I think, of what we see now, the sort of grievance politics, the white identity politics, and this idea that white working class, particularly men, I think, are sort of the victims of Democratic policies. And you see Republican candidates really going after them. 


Przybyla: What needs to happen now from Biden’s perspective is he needs a “Joe the Plumber” because Joe confronted Barack Obama about taxes there. But what’s happened since then is that when Trump got in, one of his first policies was to cut taxes in a way that primarily benefited corporate stock buybacks.

Whereas Joe Biden’s done this policy of like hard hat proposals like infrastructure. And yet, somehow the Democratic Party really struggles with this segment of the population that really believes that they’re aggrieved and that the economic policies of the Democratic Party has hurt them for the worse, when in fact, you have this huge accomplishment, for instance, with infrastructure. That’s just a lost opportunity.


Nothing says “out of touch media” more than turning the death of a person who got accidentally thrust into the spotlight into a rant about “white identity politics,” the Democratic party’s increasing woes with a core voting bloc, and how it all supposedly equates to a “lost opportunity” for Joe Biden for voters who just refuse to acknowledge how wonderful Biden has been or whatever.

Not only that, but black people pay taxes, too, and also own their own businesses, last I checked, and they’ve also been burdened during Democratic presidential administrations with higher taxes like everyone else. So how this became about white dudes and “grievance politics” is just something else.

It’s especially cringe when you consider that CNN has literally been nothing but far-left Identity Politics Central since well before Donald Trump took office, so they’re totally okay with “identity politics” — just as long as it’s the kind they think will score them cool points with Woke Inc., like when they have gaslit the American people on how Antifa/BLM rioters are “peaceful protesters” while cities burn down behind them in their live camera shots.

As far as I’m concerned, this is further evidence that CNN remains a one-trick pony, which might be one reason why their ratings remain in the toilet and they have to keep changing their line-ups.

Facts first and all that.

Related: Closer Look at AP Piece on DeSantis’ Jacksonville Response Raises More Questions About Their Agenda

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